The older I get, there are fewer mornings that I wake totally oriented as to which day it is.
9/11 is one of those mornings when I wake and orientation comes quickly followed by a sense of sadness and images from the day that “the world stopped turning”.
If you ask someone “where were you?” we all have stories, vivid memories of where we stood when we heard the news, where we went to watch it and how our individual worlds fell apart while we watched people–yes People–Cross themselves, hold hands and jump from burning buildings.
I had been hospitalized that summer for what was called a profound onset of crohns disease, I had been fed through a central line, which is an IV that went into my heart. In August, the doctors had tried to discharge me but I was too sick and went right back into the hospital.
A couple of days before 9/11, I was successfully discharged to my parent’s house. The central line had been removed, I was able to take tiny bites of food and small sips of liquid. We were rejoicing. It was a time of new beginnings for us.
The morning of 9/11, I had spoken with sistah on the phone. She, her husband and my niece were on their way to my parent’s house to visit. I was telling sistah that she was going to be so proud of me, that I could eat a little bit, that I was not running fevers. We were so happy. The sky was blue, it was slightly crisp and cool outside.
After my sister and I hung up the phone, I was in my parent’s living room watching Good Morning America. I saw one plane hit the first tower and called my mother into the room. Then the 2nd plane hit. My Aunt called to talk to my mother and the day unfolded.
Sistah, her husband and my niece arrived. My father was home. We were unable to talk. We sat, horrified watching the news. I remember trying so hard to not cry because I knew that it was important to not get emotional. By that point, I had learned that emotions could cause my newly diagnosed crohn’s to send me back to the hospital.
I started getting sick again around midnight. I was nauseated and I had a fever, I took tylenol and prayed that I would be ok. At some point, around 4:00 AM, I ran to the bathroom where I was throwing up, passing intestinal blood and then passed out. On my way to the floor, I yelled a faint “help me” and my niece who was a toddler at the time sat up in her bed and said “Aunt Jessie”.
Sistah, my brother-in-law and my niece came to rescue me from an absolutely foul scene in the restroom. Around 5:00 AM, my GI doctor told me that we needed to come back to the ER so that I could be re-admitted to the hospital. I was so fragile and I remember that my sister helped me shower before going to the hospital as I knew that once I was admitted, a shower would not happen. My baby sister cleaned up before my hospitalization.
My family took me to the ER where I was re-admitted to the hospital and put on large amounts of steroids.
I sat in my small hospital bed with no distraction as every channel on the TV had images of terror and news anchors kept repeating that Atlanta (where I was hospitalized) was a target city.
It was all so horrifically sad (sad is not the word). I don’t think that there is a word for 9/11, not a word to do it justice. Watching the tragedy unfold, there is not a word for what happened that day.